February blizzard in Bucharest

February 2012 blizzard in Bucharest: crow and water birds on the frozen surface of the Dambovita river (©Valentin Mandache)

February 2012 blizzard in Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

We had in Bucharest at this beginning of February, together with the rest of Eastern and Central Europe, a capricious freezing weather caused by a massive Siberian weather-front, which is a normal occurrence in wintertime in these parts of the the Eurasian continent. The Lower Danube prairie, where Bucharest is located, becomes in such instances a true part of Siberia, as these photograph that I shot a couple of days ago testify.

Comarnic wood fretwork

Comarnic wood fretwork dating from the 1890s. (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a wood fretwork panel fragment from among the myriad of such embellishments that adorn house façades on the main street of the city of Comarnic, on Prahova Valley, about 100km north of Bucharest. It dates from the 1890s, created at time of economic well being in the late Victorian period, when the town benefited from the opening of the first direct railway link between Bucharest and Brasov in Transylvania and from there to the rest of Europe, and also because of the set up there of a lime and cement factory, which supplied Bucharest’s booming building industry. Comarnic is the repository of probably the amplest and finest Victorian era wood fretwork architecture in this part of Europe, which is now ignored by the official tourist trails and companies, remaining virtually unknown, despite the town’s relative short distance from Bucharest. The panel presented here is a composition of floral and Romanian ethnographic designs. The ethnographic patterns are constituted by the rope motif short columns of opposing twists and the full and half solar discs adorning their base and capital.